The Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have warned oil firms against sacking their members.
The unions said they had received reports from members of attempts by some multinational and indigenous oil and gas companies to sack, reduce salaries and introduce indecent work system for workers in the industry on the excuse of the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement signed by the National President of NUPENG, Mr. Williams Akporeha, and President of PENGASSAN, Mr. Ndukaku Ohaeri, among others, the leadership of the unions sympathised with the employers over the negative impacts of COVID-19 on the industry, business operations, and earnings.
They also stated that the issue of arbitrary sacking, terminations or introduction of indecent working conditions coupled with non-procedural behaviour should be avoided at all cost, “as they would not bring anything good to anyone in both short, medium and long terms.”
According to the statement: “The leadership of NUPENG and PENGASSAN condemn these moves and vow to resist them with all our might, as the moves are seen as unfair to the selfless and patriotic services of the Nigerian oil and gas workers to these companies and the nation over the past highly productive years and even when these workers are still fully participating in the frontline of the struggle against the pandemic rendering essential services. These moves, if not properly checked and managed by relevant authorities whose guidelines are being continually disobeyed by these organisations, will further complicate the already impoverished state of Nigerian oil and gas workers, their immediate family and others depending on the workers’ incomes for living.”
They urged the federal government and agencies responsible for managing and regulating the industry to address the issue to prevent damaging consequences of the actions and reactions that may follow.
The unions threatened to embark on an action that would affect the industry, if the trend is not stopped and erring organisations are not called to order.
The statement added: “We earnestly implore these companies that in the same manners and the spirit they are making donations for the fight against COVID-19, they should also spare some kind thoughts for their workers and strive to keep them alive and on the job so as not to create social upheavals that would be more devastating than the COVID-19 pandemic.”